D3.js - Introduction


Data visualization is the presentation of data in a pictorial or graphical format. The primary goal of data visualization is to communicate information clearly and efficiently via statistical graphics, plots and information graphics.

Data visualization helps us to communicate our insights quickly and effectively. Any type of data, which is represented by a visualization allows users to compare the data, generate analytic reports, understand patterns and thus helps them to take the decision. Data visualizations can be interactive, so that users analyze specific data in the chart. Well, Data visualizations can be developed and integrated in regular websites and even mobile applications using different JavaScript frameworks.

What is D3.js?

D3.js is a JavaScript library used to create interactive visualizations in the browser. The D3.js library allows us to manipulate elements of a webpage in the context of a data set. These elements can be HTML, SVG, or Canvas elements and can be introduced, removed, or edited according to the contents of the data set. It is a library for manipulating the DOM objects. D3.js can be a valuable aid in data exploration, it gives you control over your data's representation and lets you add interactivity.

Why Do We Need D3.js?

D3.js is one of the premier framework when compare to other libraries. This is because it works on the web and its data visualizations are par excellence. Another reason it has worked so well is owing to its flexibility. Since it works seamlessly with the existing web technologies and can manipulate any part of the document object model, it is as flexible as the Client Side Web Technology Stack (HTML, CSS, and SVG). It has a great community support and is easier to learn.

D3.js Features

D3.js is one of the best data visualization framework and it can be used to generate simple as well as complex visualizations along with user interaction and transition effects. Some of its salient features are listed below −

  • Extremely flexible.
  • Easy to use and fast.
  • Supports large datasets.
  • Declarative programming.
  • Code reusability.
  • Has wide variety of curve generating functions.
  • Associates data to an element or group of elements in the html page.

D3.js Benefits

D3.js is an open source project and works without any plugin. It requires very less code and comes up with the following benefits −

  • Great data visualization.

  • It is modular. You can download a small piece of D3.js, which you want to use. No need to load the whole library every time.

  • Easy to build a charting component.

  • DOM manipulation.

In the next chapter, we will understand how to install D3.js on our system.